Take one part Awesome Hulk and one part Old Man Logan and you end up with H-Alpha A.K.A the Hulkverine A.K.A Weapon H. Clayton Cortez was an ex-military mercenary turned into the monster that both Bruce Banner and James Howlet have been fighting most of their lives, an affliction that Cortez has overcome making him the perfect super-soldier. Going into the Hulkverine comics I was unsure of the background of the Hulkverine’s character arc, his struggles, his triumphs, his strengths and weaknesses. As the cover said “Hulk + Wolverine + Weapon H: c’mon you know you’ll love it”, and I did. It was an enjoyable read, maybe not a fully fleshed out story, enjoyable nonetheless. What villain better to go toe-to-toe with Weapon H than the master tormentor of the Hulk; the Leader, and an apparently new tormentor of Wolverine and Weapon H, Dr. Alba by proxy of the weapon X programme — Jeesh, I had missed a few things to get to this point and had to read a few additional comics to understand the backgrounds of where the characters are, something you don’t have to do as this comic stands up on its own and is simple to follow.
Hulkverine first appearance was in Totally Awesome Hulk: Weapons Of Mutant Destruction, which followed the story of the newest Hulk incarnation Amadeus Cho teaming up with Old man Wolverine, Lady Deathstroke, Sabretooth, Warpath to fight cyborg killers designed by Weapon X headed by its new mutant-hunting director, leading up to who we now know as Weapon H.
Bruce Banner is different in Hulkverines — I’ve not read much Hulk stuff since he “died” at Banner’s own request by a gamma-irradiated vibranium arrow through the brain in 2016’s Civil War II, Amadeus Cho filled in as the Hulk in the Totally Awesome Hulk — Bruce Banner comes back from the dead and is now the Immortal Hulk, so this Bruce Banner is from that timeline, and that Bruce Banner seems to have been reincarnated in the original vain that Hulk was conceived, a Jekyll and Hyde affliction. Immortal Hulk Banner transforms into Hulk when the sun sets, even if Banner happens to be dead at the time. Constantly coming back from the dead is common enough in superhero comics, but when you really think about it, it’s a creepy idea — and Immortal Hulk fully capitalises on that. Immortal Hulk asks the question is Bruce Banner a man or a monster.
They are all monsters in some form or another Wolverine is driven by his vengeance, Banner by his actual monster and Weapon H driven by not becoming the monster he could end up being. Hulkverines, also looked at relationship of Dr.Alba and the Leader both driven by their desire for controlling the monsters and in doing so suppressing their own humanity. These nuances might get lost in the story, why wouldn’t it? We are talking about the Hulk and Wolverine fighting their actual nightmares, their potential. The Hulk and Wolverine almost lose sight of the fact that Hulkverine now represents their best parts, control, and the ability to do the right thing when it counts. We see this at the end when Hulkverine is redeemed by the ultimate super-soldier, Captain America.
Some critics of the Hulkverine seemed to aim at the silliness of the Leaders plan to use a super virus to infect Weapon, but that is the fun in comics or it used to be.
Why do comics need to be so grounded? The answer: they don’t.